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Berichtdoor Tandorini » 27 dec 2013, 16:52


By Lieut. Com. H. H. FROST, United States Navy.

In considering methods of avoiding submarine attacks and of counter attacking submarines after a submarine attack has been made, it is absolutely necessary that the various methods which the enemy uses in making submarine attacks be clearly understood. The German instructions "Torpedo firing from submarines," O. N. I. publication No. 37, give a great quantity of valuable information, but this is hardly arranged in such a manner that it can be readily understood. It is my purpose to do this.


1. The attack is not possible if the submarine is more than three points on the bow of the target when it is first sighted, unless the target is at such a great distance that the submarine can proceed for some time on the surface. If a smoke or the tops of the masts of a vessel are sighted, the submarine proceeds at high speed on the surface, using oil engines, toward a position ahead of the vessel until its tops are sighted.

2. Then the submarine submerges so that it will not be discovered by the lookouts in the tops. If at this time it is still a considerable distance from the course of the target, it submerges to 59 feet, lowers periscope and proceeds at full speed or utmost speed (respectively 7 and about 9 knots) so as to make sure of getting in an attack. It frequently rises and raises its periscope--without special care to prevent being seen--so that its position with reference to the target and the latter's course and speed can be determined.

3. When a range of 4,000 meters is reached, the submarine takes special care to remain unseen. From this time on--unless high speed is necessary to reach the target--slow speed (4 knots) is the normal speed. The submarine runs at such a depth that its periscope when lowered is about 1 meter below the surface. At short intervals speed is decreased to "slowest possible" (2 knots) and the periscope is raised so that a few inches of it project above the surface. It does not remain exposed for more than a few seconds. The attack is made from the direction of the sun and wind so that it is very difficult, if not impossible, to see the periscope, which is painted "a dull.

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